Archaeological Museum

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Archaeological Museum


The Archeological Museum of Sarnath is one of the oldest museums of the Archaeological Survey of India. In 1904, the Government of India took a decision to construct this museum in order to preserve the antiquities that were found from the Sarnath excavation site. The building of the Sarnath Archaeological Museum was completed in 1910.

The building has five galleries and two verandas where the antiquities are datable from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. The various galleries are named according to their contents, like the Tathagata Gallery which exhibits images of Buddha in different attitude like maitreya-preaching Buddha the most notable sculpture of Sarnath School of Art, Nilakantha Lokesvara - with a cup of poison, and many more. The Triratna Gallery boasts of the images of Buddhist deities and some associated objects.

The main hall, which is also the entrance of the museum, is known as Shakyasimha Gallery. This gallery is known to have the most prized collection of the museum as the centre of the gallery boasts of the Lion Capital of the Ashoka Pillar that is also the national emblem of India. One will also get to see the images of Buddha in various postures amongst others. The other two galleries are named as Ashutosh Gallery, and Trimurti Gallery. The Ashutosh Gallery contains the sculptures of Lord Shiva in different forms, Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha/ Kartikeya, Lord of Agni, Goddess Parvati and image of the massive Andhakasuravadha-killing of demon by Lord Shiva. The Trimurti Gallery displays pot bellied seated Yaksha figure, image of Trimurti (Brahama, Vishnu and Mahesh) Surya, Saraswati and other secular objects like figures of birds, animals, male and female heads.

The two verandas are known as Vastumandana and Shilparatna. This 100-year-old sandstone museum is worth visiting for its ancient treasures and will prove to be a memorable experience for history buffs as well as architectural enthusiasts.

Best time to visit

Best time to visit Sarnath is during the winter season (October through March), when the climate is favourable.


The resplendent lion sculpture that once was on top of the Asoka Pillar had a 45 ft fall to the ground, but survived with little damage and is today on display at the museum.


The museum remains open from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm on all week days except Fridays.

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